In the summer time I love to hit the outdoor flea markets in search of ancient treasures. I have to admit that over the years I have found some really cool and interesting things. I still regret not buying the victorian olive pitter I saw. When I went back the following weekend the vendor had sold it. Even he regretted letting it go. It was really cool. Vintage pyrex and cut glass servingware are always on my radar, as well as good, old cast iron. I just love that stuff! I must say that over the years I have collected some nice pieces but it seems that they are becoming harder to find....cheaply that is. Sometimes I shake my head when I go to the flea and see the prices that some people are asking. This is a flea market not antiques road show! Oh and that show flea market flip. I laugh so hard! I used to live near the Elephants Trunk and I can tell you those vendors never let their stuff go that cheaply. You know it's all for TV! But back on point. The other thing I always look for are vintage cookbooks. Especially the old church fundraiser types. They are easy to spot because they are usually small booklets. This past summer I scored a whole stack of them for like $3. What a steal. The ones with dates in them range from 1936 to 1949. Now, I will admit some of the recipes were a little strange to me like Pork Cake (whaaat???) and Tuna Fish, Pineapple and Banana Salad. But there are some real winners in there too. Especially, the desserts and muffins. Huckleberry pancakes is on my list of things to try and soon as I find a source for huckleberries. I don't think I have ever seen them for sale here in the northeast. I winder if I could get them a whole foods for $80/lb (haha). If you are really lucky there will be some handwritten favorites written in the back or notes made in the margin identifying favorite recipes or good modifications. Yesterday, I was perusing one of those old books. It was not dated but was published by the Sumner Volunteer Fire Department in Sumner, Maine. The recipe was for something called Coffee Squares. Sounds good right! I had all the ingredients on hand so I decided to give it a go. I did make a couple of modifications. The recipe called for margarine (I told you it was a vintage recipe). I opted to use half butter and half crisco. I also added a teaspoon of espresso powder to up the coffee flavor and I added a teaspoon of butter vanilla flavoring since I used crisco. Rather than rewrite the recipe I took a picture of it. The notes in the margin are mine.
The resulting dessert was something between a cake and a brownie and it was delicious. I used slivered almonds for the nuts because that is what I had on hand, but really anything would work. Next time I might try toasted hazelnuts but walnuts or pecans would also go well. I also recommend lining your pan with parchment. I greased mine but it was still tough getting these babies out.